2/01/2016

Congo Rubber Monopoly

Spanish original
Chocolate hands in a Belgian pastry

   The rubber boom had its heyday between 1879 and 1912 because of the growing demand for manufacturing automobiles, bicycles, water proof boots, telegraph cables and other applications for an industrial revolution that entered its second phase of expansion. The rubber was only available in tropical forests, mainly in the basins of the Congo (a vast territory barely explored) and Amazon (the Lacandon Jungle was a no man's land covering Venezuela, Colombian, Ecuadorian, Brazilian and Peruvian territory). 

The entire history of Congo has been marked by the naked capitalist exploitation of its natural resources - from rubber to "conflict minerals" - by international corporate business.The term “conflict minerals” is defined as columbite-tantalite, also known as coltan (from which tantalum is derived); cassiterite (tin); gold; wolframite (tungsten); or their derivatives.

Armed groups in the Congo hire local villagers at gunpoint and physically force them to mine for these minerals. Villagers are often raped and beaten into submission, and so these villagers must mine in order to protect themselves and their families. The work conditions are horrendous – miners work in very hazardous locations, use makeshift tools, and wear no protection against the elements. Consequentially, many miners perish from these dangerous conditions. In fact, there are over 5.4 million Congo civil conflict-related deaths. The main  imports  are guns, ammution and bullets. Minerals are exported out of the Congo to Asia to be processed and shipped out as cell phones and similar to consumers around the world.

K. Marx: (Theories of Surplus Value Part III.): "In general, forced work shows in the most brutal form, but with the most explicitness, the essential characteristics of wage labor"

Malthus: “Production needs of the whip of hunger and the threat of starvation because the human race is by nature inert, slow, averse to work, if not compelled by neediness . 

W.E. Hardenburg (1912): “The atrocities of the rubber industry in Peru, which have shocked public opinion and sparked widespread outrage and horror -atrocidades worse than that of the Congo - can not be considered simply as an isolated phenomenon. These incidents are the extreme manifestation of a condition that is expressed in different forms around the world, commercialism and industrialism, whose exponents to enrich deny a fair share of the fruits of the earth and its effort to workers who produce the wealth. The mechanism operates in almost every country in almost every industry; and although their methods are not the same as the savagery and barbarism applied to the Congo or the Amazon, they nonetheless generate untold sorrow to mankind

The capital which got a virtual monopoly on rubber and ivory from the Congo was Belgian capital and had nothing to do with the British capital, French, German and Peruvian that was invested in the exploitation of rubber in the Amazon. However, in both cases, separated by thousands of kilometers, forms of business organization, incentive systems and the results, were identical. In the depths of the rainforests, without reporters or cameras, capitalism could operate free of the fetishism of the "labor market".

Labor market?


The capitalist system, to hide exploitation, disguised it as a commercial act, a contract of sale, in which the labor force appears as a commodity of a supposed "labor market" where it is freely "negotiated" between the "free" parties.

In reality there is not such a market where such negotiation occurs. The labor market is a fiction. It is a fetish to confuse the exploited. There is nothing to negotiate. The worker can not subsist without work because they have no production means to do so. Therefore "accept" the wages the capitalist wants to pay. And accept it because is subject to capitalist terror, the devastating threat of unemployment.

We could speak of labor "market" only if the deman side would have alternative means of production and subsistence. Is the case of peasants with enough land or self-employed. As both have their own means of production, and subsistence, there would be a real negotiation between them and the capital that would hire them.

 Cogo proletarians

But capital is not interested in such negotiations. Since its inception capitalism produces its own working class, its own proletariat, its own unemployment, appropriating all the means of production or destroying those which can not be appropriated. The objective is none other than exploitation without any negotiation. The alleged "labor market" is nothing but perpetual competition among most of the population beset by fear of capitalist unemployment.

Although most theories of capitalism try to separate it from slavery or forced labor as anachronistic and inefficient compared to the invention of the "labor market", actually, forced labor and slavery are chronic system factors from its earliest origins and when it has no other choice but to use the fetish of the labor market, capital seeks by all means, to maximize profits, making it as close as possible to forced or slave labor.

For their part, the rubber companies spent most of their capital manufacturing a new rubber proletariat, systematically destroying the means of production of the Congolese and Amazonian tropical nations. Operating in an unexplored territory, away from the cameras and reporters, they did not need to hide with fake contracts or laboral markets the inhuman exploitation to which they would submit their new proletariat.


The new rubber proletarians


H. M. Stanley: “As we travel through the land of the Congo, making roads, lifting stations, trading privileges, surveying the vast area, teaching and preparing native to the near advent of a bright and happy future for them, win them over by our gentleness, soothing their passions, instilling commercial principles, showing the nature of the marketable products when the white man will came.”

E.V. Sjöblom: “Then their rice fields are destroyed, and its reserves are delivered by force. His bananas are cut while they are still young and without fruit, and often they burn their huts, and, of course, take everything of value.”.

Cónsul ThesigerEverywhere it was the same story: the supervisors forbade them to clear new land for cultivation or hunting or fishing. If they tried to do it their networks and tools were destroyed. In some villages the Indians secretly tryied to cultivate small gardens in the forest, where they were supposed to be out cutting rubber trees, but such an offense often was paid with their lives.”

Adam Hochschild: “Obviously, this left no one to raise crops or bear healthy children, resulting in the death of an estimated 50% of the population’s, probably ca. 10 million people

When Henry Morton Stanley first came to the Congo Basin he found that coastal areas were densely populated.  Stanley, after their long expeditions knew quite well the prevailing economic system in the Congo. They were relatively advanced societies. Most of the population was engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry as the basis for their livelihood. They hunted, fished and gathered in an extraordinarily gifted environment. They melted and worked bronze and iron. As usual, the land was a tribal common. They did not understand at all the concept of private ownership of land and evidently the chief of the tribe could not deal with land "property".


Congo village before capital arrival

There were Indian merchants who traded throughout the vast territory and there where also cities of traders. Stanley pointed this, referring to them:

"These traders were familiar with many lands and tribes in the Upper Congo. From Stanley Pool to Upoto, at a distance of 600 miles, they knew perfectly each landing site on the banks of rivers. They were well aware of their environment, mastered the art of barter. All diplomatic tact arts were as familiar to them as is the Roman alphabet for us. It is not surprising that all this business knowledge had left their print on their faces; in fact, the same thing happens in our large cities in Europe. Do not you distinguish them by their military factions between a poet, a banker, an artist or a poet? The same thing happens in Africa, especially in Congo, with people engaged in trade."

Marked was obviously a marginal and complementary business activity of a mainly agricultural society.

While rubber companies had huge incentives from the world market, a huge business languished in the warm tropical forests waiting of capital knowing to transform it into value. Rubber employers needed specialized labor knowing the region, who could locate rubber trees, and basically that would be able to stay alive inside the jungle.

Thus, obtaining an abundant labor force was essential to the expansion of the rubber companies, both for the production and for rubber transportation from collection centers to the port and then to the city.

The companies needed the services of the indigenous but no European product interested natives enough to encourage them to collect rubber in the forest adjacent to their villages and even less in more remote territories.

The first step for its forced proletarianization was to eliminate the modes of production of indigenous societies, destroying the means of production of the Central and Amazonian nations (as in eighteenth-century England) and snatching their communal lands.

In the case of Congo, the natives will be urged to give up farming to return to the condition of hunter-gatherers. In the Amazon it was the same with the tribes who practiced agriculture.

The most advanced capitalism returned humanity to the condition of Paleolithic hunter-gatherer.

One of the first steps of Leopold II of Belgium as the new monarch of the Congo Free State was a 1887 decree declaring state property all the "vacant land", ie, all the land free of crops or settlements. According to this law only the small areas of settlements and small and few grain fields or manioc surrounding them, where to remain in indigenous hands. Everywhere beyond these tiny patches stretched plains and forests that had been until the arrival of capital the ancestral communal lands of indigenous.

Nevertheless, the natives of both continents did not seem too willing to become capitalism working class. It was necessary to force them to work for capital. Capitalism set aside costumes and fetishes. The naked capitalism imposed the most inhuman and savage terror to subdue the working class and to convert them to rubber proletarians.

The rubber business had fever but it was also in a hurry. After the sowing of seeds of rubber tree in Southeast Asia, the days of absolute monopoly, both for the Amazon and the Congo, were numbered.

Thus, both,  fixed capital and human capital would be of a single use. The the companies forced labor to over-exploit native rubber trees so that they died from excessive loss of fluids. Some companies (like the cartel Kasai Company) resorted to cut and chop trees to extract all possible latex.

The rubber capital produced a proletariat tailored to the needs of their business. The cost of reproduction of labor could be circumvented. Proletarianization of indigenous was radical. Plantations were destroyed and crops and warehouses burned, workshops tools and utensils, fishing boats destroyed, livestock killed. The rubber proletariat would be a throwaway proletariat. It is estimated that the number of indigenous people at the arrival of capitalism to the Congo area ranged between 20 and 30 million. According to the census conducted in 1911, twenty years later, the population of the Congo had been reduced by capital to only 8,500,000 people.

Terror, productivity and efficiency


The supposed free market became forced market.

Cónsul Thesiger 1908: “The commodities where distributed delivering a hat to an Indian, a metal hoe to another, and so on. Each receiver was then at the end of a month responsible for collecting a number of kilos of rubber. The workers could not choose or refuse to acquire thise objects, no negative allowed. If anyone had any objections, the objects where throwed  at her door, and whether you take it or leave it, the worker should collect the rubber quantity stipulated by the other contracting  party"

Mark Twain : " The baskets of severed hands at the feet of European commissioners, became the symbol of the Congo Free State ... The collection of hands became an end in itself. Soldiers of the Force Publique. brought them to the collection stations in place of rubber; even they went out to harvest them instead of rubber ... They became a sort of currency and came to be used to offset the deficit in rubber quotas, and the soldiers were paid their bonuses on the basis of how many hands they collected. 

Both the rubber territory in the Amazon  (between Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia) and the Congo were true "no man's land", without witnesses or cameras. Under such circumstances the savvy CEOs of the operating companies resorted to unconventional and compelling incentives to increase the productivity of labor:

1. The taking of family hostages  (wife and children) as currency of the workforce. The hostages could only be rescued by delivering certain quantities of rubber (the hostages were systematically raped and abused during their detention).




Accounting Extract ABIR company. List of hostages..

 * contrainte par corps: Disposition qui consiste à appréhender un détenu dans afin qu'il s'acquitte de sa dette

2. Both in the Amazon (endeude) and the Congo, peonage debt systems where used for enslaving and exploiting the Indians.

3. physical punishment against the native population was regularly employed. The most widely used instrument was the Chicotte, a kind of whip that tore the flesh. The first news of its use dating back to 1888. This punishment was also applied to children to force their parents to work.

4. Women were also forced to proletarianize. The rape was the usual penalty for poor performance.

Force Public and two proletarian women

5. Torture was systematically applied. If a proletarian man escaped, his wife and children were tortured until the man escaped back or his whereabouts were revealed.

6. Bullets were the main incentive to boost productivity and punish strikes.

As punishment for refusing to collect or failing to provide the amounts stipulated by the company  there were frequent mass killings. As evidence that the killings were carried out, the agents of the companies amputated a hand to the corpses. At other times they cut the heads or genitals to prove that those killed were male. The hands were smoked (for conservation in a tropical climate) and delivered to European heads of post as proof that the thugs had done their work.

Sometimes supervisors did not kill the natives, but only amputated their right hands  to deceive his superiors, hoarding the  remaining bullets or employing them for hunting.

Capitalist companies ended importing nothing but guns and bullets. As denounce Edmund Dene Morel, ships loaded with rubber coming to Antwerp, returned to Congo loaded with rifles, chains, ammunition and explosives. The real "comparative advantage" of capitalist markets.

Naked savage capitalism


E.D. Morel  (Commenting on the Berlin Conference of 1885): "... it was visible through the discussions that took place during the drafting of the terms of the minutes of the conference, the desire to protect the natives of Africa injustice and expropriation; guarantee the peaceful possession of their land and properties; curb, as far as possible, the war between tribes and Arab slave raids; and to maintain and develop trade. Special emphasis was placed on the latter point, it is universally recognized that trade is, above all, a safer environment for the progress of the communities from a state of primitive barbarism to greater awareness of the arts and crafts and, in general, a high conception of life. "

The capitalism of the late XIXth and early XXth centuries was a mature capitalism under their first procés of globalization. His sycophants had embellished and elevated it to the top of civilization. The public relations departments organized philanthropic geographical conferences to conceal and disguise the colonial plunder. It was a real "system" that was applied everywhere. Capital with a Bible in one hand and A. Smith "The Wealth of Nations" in the other advanced everywhere instopable.

The capital which got a virtual monopoly on rubber and ivory from the Congo was Belgian capital and had nothing to do with the British, French, German and Peruvian capital that was invested in the exploitation of rubber in the Amazon. However, in both cases, separated by thousands of kilometers, forms of business organization, incentive systems and the results were identical. In the depths of the rainforests, without reporters or cameras, capitalism could operate without the fetishism of labor markets.

Capital leave in Europe and the US  their disguised Dr. Jekyll, to develop, without scruples or restrictions, its intrinsic and true nature; to operate at ease, naked and wild, as Mr. Hyde.

Vertical integration of the company



Roger David Casement "One of the biggest concessionaires of the Congo had sent a request to its directors in Europe for an extra supply of cartridges. The directors complied with those requests asking what had become of the 72,000 cartridges shipped about three years ago. The answer was that they had been used in the production of rubber "..." Each time the corporal goes out to get rubber is given a certain amount of cartridges and he must return all the unused; and for each used he has to bring a right hand "

W.E. Hardenburg: "As rubber is harder to find, the Indian, in order to be able to deliver the full amount of rubber that the Company requires, and escape  floggings and torture, often adulterate the rubber latex sap from other trees, thereby reducing the quality of the Putumayo rubber "

0. Ownership of the means of production

The documents signed H.M. Stanley (he collected no less than 450 "treaties") with heads of local tribes, they gave their rights over their territories to the International Association of the Congo   "for the advancement of civilization and commerce" in exchange for trinkets of little value. It is clear that local leaders were not aware of what they were signing. They thought surely they were granting permits for the establishment of commercial establishments. The idea that they were actually selling their lands (the document was written in French) could not fit in their minds. But according to these treaties, over 20 million people were expropriated and all the wealth of their land attributed to the Belgian company.


Modern multinationals second globalization, as  Inditex o Appel, camouflage the terror exerted on the working class disintegrating its corporate structure, outsourcing production. The directors of the rubber companies of the first globalization do not needed not such tricks. They established an efficient system of vertical integration to achieve maximum productivity of their workforce.

A vast area of the planet, similar to that of Europe extension would become a capitalist concentration camp.

The organization chart of the companies faithfully obeyed this vertical integration:

1. Administrative division: both the Amazon and the Congo territory where divided into districts controlled by white overseers.

2. Establishment of collection stations and collection centers.

 Huitotos in front a PARC collection center

Each district includes a number of collection centers in charge of the surrounding native villages. Every two or three months, the collected rubber was transported to the city (Iquitos in the Amazon, Boma in the Congo) on barges.

3. Recruitment of foreman

In Congo, one or two white sforeman (Belgian, French, English, German, etc.) hired by companies,  directed and controlled production from these facilities and accountant offices. They earn a small fixed salary but received additional bonus in proportion to the turnover.

In the Peruvian Amazon Rubber Company (PARC)  the foreman were called "jefes". The "jefes" were not paid wages but only fees for the collected gum. Each "jefe" controled between 10 and 80 supervisors or "racionales" from the Barbados Islands.

4. Supervisors of the workforce

The foreman of the collection points controlled supervisors.

The tasks of the supervisors were the usual for any company:

• Determine requirements of production (such as quantity and quality of production, cost, time, labor requirements)
• Determine the schedule, sequences and assignments for work activities harvesting and drying of rubber.
• Meet with other supervisors to coordinate operations and activities.
• Give instructions to workers, eg on job specifications.
• Monitor and control production processes for detecting defects or faults.
• Monitor the performance of workers, for example, by monitoring measures, weights and other indicators.
• Check the quality and quantity of production.
• Evaluate current production budgets and yields.

In the Congo the supervisors were called "Capitas". They were cannibals indigenous tribes from remote areas . In each village was placed, day and night, a "Capitas". The efficient Capitas watched closely the collecting work of  the villagers imposing precautionary measures of terror for lack of diligence. In case of violence against the capitas a punitive expedition was organized which usually meant the destruction of the villages involved.

In the Amazon, the PARC hired in Barbados, as supervisors, British West Indians called "racionales". These "racionales" commanded a troop of  "muchachos" or "boys", in general indigenous orphans, trained to brutalize their fellows. The "racional" exercised similar tasks as those of the Congolese Capitas.

Racional of the PARCA with a group of his boys

5. To keep the rubber workers in terror it was needed that they know always the existence of a huge reserve army (other natives likely to be recruited) and therefore its absolute physical dispensability.

6. The terror was performed with maximum efficiency and effectiveness. It was not enough to kill but that terror must be something scenic and spectacular. They were tortured in public, the victims were burned alive dropping slowly flammable liquid over their heads, the severed heads where impaled, genitals exposed in the village palisades, people was crucified, sometimes upside down,  wives or daughters where impaled, etc.

According to Veritas in the newspaper West African Mail, one of the capes of the Anglo-Belgian India Rubber and Exploration Company (ABIR), Mon. Foecie, practiced a terribly scenic terror when he killed the head of the region Isekifasu Bolima, killed his wife and their children, and cut them in pieces and ate some of them in front of everyone. He decorated the house of the head with the intestines, liver and heart of some of the victims.

http://eltrabajonoshacelibres.blogspot.com.es/2012/08/leopoldo-ii-de-belgica-y-la-explotacion.html
white commissioners ABIR with supervisors or Capitas

7. The cost of terror was carefully controlled. From the collection center the foreman counted the number of cartridges delivered to supervisors, requiring a pledge in return at the end of the day (cut and smoked hands, testicles, ears, etc). A district foreman, Leon Flévez received 1,308 severed hands in a single day. It was also recommended to put the victims in a row to kill them with a single bullet.


The companies involved



a) Companies in the Congo Basin


Along with the AIC, owned by Leopoldo, the companies that obtained major concessions were the Anversoise Société du Commerce au Congo and the Anglo-Belgian India Rubber and Exploration Company (A.B.I.R.). Leopoldo had a major stake in the two companies, directly or through proxies. The other big capitalist behind these companies was the banker Alex de Browne de Tiège, possessing 1,100 of 3,400 shares of the Company of Antwerp, and 1,000 of the 2,000 of the Anglo-Belgian company. Other companies operating in the area were the Compagnie du Kasai  (a cartel of 14 companies getting dividends of 700% per year), the Lomami Company, the Compagnie des Grands Lacs, the Lulonga Company and the Compagnie du Katanga.


b) Companies in the Amazon basin:


The most active companies in the Amazon basin were: the Society of Colombia, H. and U. Rubber and Coffee Status Lted., Rubber Corporation, and the Peruvian Amazon Rubber Company (PARC), which later became the Peruvian Amazon Company (PAC)

The most important was the Peruvian Amazon Rubber Company Ltd (PARC) established on October 1, 1907 with a capital of £ 1,000,000 sterling, divided into 300,000 preferred shares to 7 percent with a nominal value of £ 1 each and 700,000 shares ordinary, with nominal £ 1 each.

The total of British capital invested in stocks and bonds rubber companies operating in the Amazon basin and listed on the London Stock Exchange surpassed six million pounds, making profits of 5% on average. Some of these companies paid dividends of 12%, 20% and 25%.


The police forces of public order


E.D. Morel: “Expenses related to the accommodation, food, and equipment of regular and irregular cannibals soldiers were infinitesimal, the bodies of dead enemies were still sufficient for all purposes, considering that every cannibal had at least one body to eat, and, in fact, more than he could comfortably handle, because cases of death through excessive or indigestion were not unknown.”

Congo companies have the right to exercise police powers in areas over which they had concessions but, if necessary, could enlist the help of the Force Publique.

Since the early 1880s, in the absence of  Belgian people willing to move there Leopoldo  had hired European mercenaries to serve their interests in the Congo. In 1888 they were organized into a mercenary army called Force Publique acting simultaneously as an army of occupation and as law enforcement serving business enterprises. All officers were white.

Force Publique


There where great difficulties recruiting for the new army. The white officers managed to recruit elements of very backward tribes practiceing cannibalism (literally they ate at night the victims of the working day), but usually they had to resort to forced recruitment. The soldiers were recruited by force and forced to serve in the body for at least seven years. Recruits were often purchased from the heads of their tribes (if they do not agree to sell were themselves and their tribes subject to reprisals) or slave traders; at other times they were simply kidnapped.



The Force Publique was also an instrument of ethnic cleansing, used by colonial capitalism to encourage confrontation between the various ethnic and social groups in the Congo, usually against Kongo majority group, promoting their weakening and population control.

Entrepreneurship and Public Relations



King Leopold: "Our unique program, I am eager to deal with,  is the task of moral and material regeneration, and we must do this among a population whose degeneration in their inherited conditions is difficult to measure. The many horrors and atrocities that dishonor humanity are receding slowly step by step through our intervention "


Edgard Malet (GB representative at the Conference of Berlin 1885): "You can not forget that the natives are not represented among us, and that the decisions of the Conference shall, however, be extremely important to them."

Leopold II, King of Belgium since 1865, turned out to be a very enterprising man. He was initially attracted to the business of ivory. In 1876, he chaired the Brussels Geographic Conference bringing together experts, explorers and scientists from major European nations.

 In this Conference Leopoldo raised the need to civilize Central Africa. The main result of the conference was the decision to create an international association, the African International Association (Association Internationale Africaine, AIA, (created in 1876), a philanthropic institution to coordinate the great task.

In November 1878, in Brussels, was established the Committee for the Study of the High-Congo (CEHC), a "société en participation" with a capital of one million francs, the main subscribers were Leopold himself, possessing over one quarter of the capital (260,000 francs), and AHV (the Dutch company Afrikaansche Handels-Vereeniging) with 130,000 francs. Although the purpose of the Committee, as defined in its statutes, was mainly philanthropic and scientific, it talked openly to promote trade and industry in the area.

The AHV soon declared bankruptcy; Leopoldo saw in this event the opportunity to take full control of the company bBecoming, de facto, the sole owner of the company which name would be changed to be called International Association of the Congo (AIC).

Leopoldo worked hard to gain international recognition of their rights over the new territory. He played the trick of his fame as philanthropist king, and allowed a useful ambiguity between the old and altruistic African International Association, and the International Association of the Congo actual occurred.

The US was the first country to recognize the rights of King Leopold II on the Congo April 22, 1884.

Leopoldo announced that his "Congo Free State" would enjoy complete freedom of trade, all ports would be free port with no taxes on imports or exports, earning the favor of the European press.

However, was necessary to reach agreement on the issue of the Congo with all the European powers. To this end, he called in 1884 the Berlin Conference, to which were invited all major powers of the time.

Leopoldo obtained the recognition of its sovereignty over the Free State, whose borders had been drawn with the help of Stanley, in August last year. The coastal area near the mouth of the Congo was divided between France, the AIC and Portugal. Leopoldo obtained the port of Matadi, his starting point for the exploration and colonization of the interior.


Indigenous Congo who dear to resist
 being civilized by Leopoldo



The day August 1, 1885 was born officially the Congo Free State. Leopoldo assumed the title of "High King" of the new state with the approval of the Belgian Parliament.

The Free State also had its flag: the same that had led the African International Association and the International Association of the Congo. A gold star on a blue background. Ironically, this star symbolized the benefits that would bring civilization to Central Africa.

Bismarck delivered his baptismal blessing. "The Congo Free State is destined to become one of the main promoters of the civilizing work we have in mind, and pray for their healthy development and to fulfill the noble aspirations of its illustrious founder."


The fortunes of rubber



Edmund Wade Davis: "The rubber barons light their cigars with hundred dollars notes and appeased their horses thirst with champagne in ice silver buckets. Their wives, who disdained the muddy waters of the Amazon, sent their dirty cloth to Portugal to be washed there. Banquets were served in Carrara marble tables, and guests sat in cedar seats  imported from England (...) After dinner sometimes costing one hundred thousand dollars, men retired to elegant brothels. Prostitutes flocked from Moscow and Tangier, Cairo, Paris, Budapest, Baghdad and New York. There were fixed rates. Four hundred dollars for Polish virgins thirteen years old ... "

In Tervuren, just outside Brussels, is located the Royal Museum of Central Africa built by Leopold II. The museum has one of the more important art collections of  African objects in the world. The museum, of course, does not harbor any memory of the terrible massacres that were carried out on behalf of the free market. In 2005 it took place in the museum an exhibition named "La mémoire du Congo", where only a small part of the numerous colonial crimes were recognized, but the positive aspects of colonization where highlighted.

Leopoldo commissioned many buildings paid for by the fruit of his African businesses. Among them is the so-called Arco Cinquantenaire (a parliamentary opposition named it "Arc of the Cuted Hands"). At the Universal Exhibition in Brussels in 1897 Belgian people  could visit, among other things, the human zoo that settled in Tervuren.

Many of the documents relating to the administration of the Free State were thrown into the fire by order of Leopold in 1908, shortly before the cession of the territory to Belgium. Those who survived were classified as secret until the 1980s but actually any inquiry confront strange administrative difficulties of all kinds.

Manaus enjoyed an electric tram, when New York and Boston only offered horse-drawn trams. Avenues were built on dried marshes, stunning and luxurious buildings whe build as the Amazon Theater, which was inaugurated on January 6, 1897 with a performance of La Gioconda by Amilcare Ponchielli, played by the great company of Italian Opera.


postscript


Finished the rubber boom other capitalists fevers soon reached the jungles of the Amazon and Congo. In the Amazon, the rubber was replaced by wood and oil. In Congo, copper, diamonds, coltan, cassiterite, gold, etc., continue attracting capital and its untold succession of genocidal atrocities.

 Links:

PARC

Pdf Amazonian rubber

Film: Congo White King Red Rubber Black Death

EN EL CORAZÓN DE LAS TINIEBLAS... DEL PUTUMAYO, 1890-1932.

Kasai Company and its shareholders

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